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Highlighting Hatred in Saudi Textbooks

Highlighting Hatred in Saudi Textbooks

27th March 2014 - FDD Policy Brief

President Obama is set to visit Saudi Arabia this Friday for discussions with Saudi officials focusing on regional developments and repairing the strained relations between the U.S. and the Kingdom. It is unclear whether the president will raise concerns about Saudi Arabia’s controversial educational curriculum. Saudi textbooks help propagate jihadist ideology and are distributed around the globe.

A new FDD report reveals that the State Department has declined to release a taxpayer-funded study on Saudi textbooks submitted to the Department in 2012. The Saudi Ministry of Education continues to allow dangerous and deeply offensive material to appear in Saudi Arabia’s textbooks for the 2013-2014 school year.

For example, a twelfth grade textbook on Quranic interpretation professes that “treachery, betrayal, and the denunciation of covenants” are among the attributes of the Jews. The anti-Semitic libel “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is presented as historical fact in a tenth grade textbook on Hadith and Islamic Culture. 

A book from the same series for the eleventh grade teaches that cosmopolitan universities in the Middle East such as the American Universities in Beirut and Cairo are examples of a modern-day crusade by Christians against Islam.

Homosexuals fare even worse in Saudi Arabia’s educational materials. A tenth grade textbook on jurisprudence states that the punishment for homosexuality is death. The text goes on to suggest that the most important debate about homosexuals is how best to execute them, including death by fire, stoning, or being thrown from a high place.

A twelfth grade monotheism textbook asserts that the punishment for conversion away from Islam is execution. If the apostate does not repent, “it is incumbent upon the ruler to kill him,” the text reads. The book also argues that authorities can forcibly separate an apostate from his or her spouse and confiscate their property.

Students are taught in a tenth grade jurisprudence textbook that some of “the reasons for which the crime of adultery is committed” include “a man shaking the hand of a foreign woman” and “a woman’s travel without a husband or marriageable relative.”

These highlights from current textbooks underscore Saudi Arabia’s obvious lack of progress in reforming its education system, something Riyadh assured Washington would be finished by 2008.

Oren Adaki is a Research Associate at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.


islamism, obama, radicalization, saudi-arabia